New Palatine Dist. 15 community group leaders picked

 
 
Posted1/12/2017 5:33 AM
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  • A $130 million bond issue to build two new schools in Palatine Elementary District 15 was defeated by a big margin in November. Opponents campaigned vigorously against it.

    A $130 million bond issue to build two new schools in Palatine Elementary District 15 was defeated by a big margin in November. Opponents campaigned vigorously against it. Courtesy of For Our District 15 Kids

The leaders have been selected for the new community engagement planning committee started by Palatine Township Elementary School District 15's top administrator.

Superintendent Scott Thompson created the group in December after the district's plan to borrow $130 million to build two new schools was overwhelmingly rejected by voters. The 44-member group will meet for the first time next week.

The committee will meet on several occasions to determine the structure and content of proposed community engagement sessions. Committee members will then take part in analyzing input from those meetings and creating a set of recommendations for the school board.

Thompson said he selected Matt Bickel and Lavanya Swaminathan to serve as the group's co-chairmen. The pair will run the group with little involvement from Thompson. Thompson said they were uniquely qualified for the role.

Bickel, a partner at Wold Architects and Engineers, was the architect on the Palatine village hall renovation project. Thompson said in that role Bickel went through a process of working with a several people in the community to get their input on the building's design.

Thompson said Swaminathan works in human resources for a Fortune 500 company and has a lot of experience working with people and leading committees.

Almost everyone who completed an application to be on the committee was accepted. Thompson said he rejected applications that were incomplete and any applications submitted by board members or candidates running for a spot on the board in April.

"I wanted to keep this organic and just community-based, so we didn't want any political aspects to this," Thompson said after the meeting.

Thompson passed all the other 42 completed applications to Bickel and Swaminathan, and they accepted each one.

"The co-chairs felt like everybody who applied should have a role on the committee," Thompson said. "They think they can handle it."

The committee initially will meet from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 19, Feb. 9 and March 9 at the Joseph M. Kiszka Educational Service Center, 580 N. 1st Bank Drive in Palatine.

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